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Air traffic grounded by sky-high towers

By By Huang Zhiling and Xin Dingding (China Daily)

08:24, July 03, 2012

Construction has resumed on a disputed commercial plaza that has affected flight safety and led to canceled flights in Mianyang, Sichuan province.

Located near the Mianyang Nanjiao Airport, the project includes apartment buildings, office buildings and a commercial complex, with the tallest two buildings standing at 100 meters.

As the buildings are only 4 kilometers from the airport, it has affected the safe landing of airplanes.

On Thursday, the Mianyang government announced that it would strictly follow the requirement of civil aviation authorities and have the developer demolish part of the buildings to guarantee flight safety.

On Saturday, construction at the site was suspended.

But on Monday, China Daily found that work had started again.

Hu Sigui, 51, a worker at the site, told China Daily that he and fellow workers were informed on Sunday afternoon to resume on Monday.

"It was said that the suspension of construction over the weekend was just due to lack of electricity," he said.

The buildings' structures have been completed, and workers are doing inside decoration.

In April, the airport reported to local civil aviation authorities that, due to the height of the buildings, which had affected flight safety at night, all of its late flights were suspended.

The suspension of late flights caused losses of 200,000 yuan ($31,000) a day for the airport, resulting an accumulated loss of 12 million yuan in the past two months, according to an estimate by staff at the airport.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China's southwest regional administration conducted an investigation into the incident.

"Due to safety concerns, we have asked the Mianyang airport to raise the safety standards of operations, and coordinate with local government to solve the problem," Wang Xin, a publicity official with the regional administration, said on Monday.

According to civil aviation laws, the local government should be responsible for having those excessively high buildings corrected, the CAAC said in a written reply to China Daily on Monday.

Yet sales of the buildings are continuing.

At the project's sales center, there were still customers signing purchase contracts with the developer on Monday.

Guo Jianrong, who was signing a contract to buy an apartment, said he was not worried.

"Wanda Group said it had all required documents, and I trust it. There should be no problem," he said.

Wei Mingcong, a salesman at Wanda Plaza, said only two buildings are higher than allowed.

"If there should be demolition, a total of 336 apartments on the top seven floors of each of the two buildings will be affected," he said.

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